• Ariee Streached and yawned, her massive fangs glimmered in the early morning light. It was early in spring, and most of the other dragons would be waking up from their long winter sleep. Peering out of the cave, she noticed several of the others were already outside warming their scales in the soft sunlight. She streached her batlike wings and yawned once more, her scales glimmered with a soft pearly sheen. She stood up. Her slender legs ached from lack of use, and her sharp eyes were clogged with sleep. Ariee raised a talon to wipe it out. "mornin' ariee!" a high pitched voice echoed behind her. Ariee twisted her long neck around to peer at the little Fairi Dragon fluttering behind her on its snowy butterflys wings. Fairi dragons were the only other dragons who were white like her. "g'mornin' Filli" SHe said rather groggily. "wouldja' mind landing? your wings are scatterin' sleepy dust again" The little silvery dragon landed and folded his wings "sorry there, Ariee!" Filli grinned. "Well anyway, i gotta message for ya. Fairi dragons Arent messenger dragons! Thats the Purple Dragon's job!" Artemis rolled her eyes and cleared some gunk out of her scales while filli lectured on about how fairi dragons were noble beasts above delivering messages. "filli, What in the name of all dragonkind is the message?" Filli's scales turned slightly pink. "okay, okay, Kwinn wants to see you down by the pond."Ariee yawned again, brushing sleepy-dust off her muzzle with her tail. "mmkay then." She padded to the edge of the cave and spread her wings, beating them laborously for a moment, before they finally lifted her off the ground. "stupid Kwinn" She muttered to herself. "had to send that fairi dragon, didnt he? is he trying to make me sleep for the next century?" The valley streaked by bellow her. Purpley black messenger dragons were creeping out of the holes in their trees, while heavyset golden King Dragons were hauling themselves out of massive burrows in the hard, cracked desert earth. Slender hunting dragons with muscular wings and limbs crept out of their caves, their red scales coated in grime. Slender, powerful goldenbrows like Ariee crawled out of caves dug into the sided of the desert valley's walls, their shimmering green scales seeming to glow in the sun. Wind Dragons, long and serpentine with blue scales, long, slender legs, and feathery wings uncoiled and slunk out from large cracks in boulders. The world was waking up. She did a barrel spin and took a dive down at a dark blue pool in the far northern edge of the desert valley. She hovered above it for a moment, before plunging down at it, aiming for the center.

    SPLASH! Kwinn took a step back when Ariee fell into the pool. Her horns broke the surface of the water as she emerged, her oddly pure-white scales glimmered as she hauled herself out, brushing extra grime off with the blade on her tail. "mornin Kwinn. Why did you want to see me? and why send that a Fairi dragon? you know how irritating they can get" He raised a claw and tapped the ground with it. "I was getting impatient. What took ya so long?" She rolled her golden eyes. "that fairi dragon started a lecture. Yoyu know how they go on and on!" Now it was his turn to roll his eyes. "well anyway, Griiln needs us to go hunting outside the valley again. He coudnt find any other dragon able to keep up with me, so your coming. " She groaned. "cant he just send rythmiina and Gwee? Why do i always get stuck with the obsinant ones?" He snorted, ashes blew from his nostrils. " i resent that!" The hunting dragon turned away from her. " we leave tommorow. Meet here. and please, BE ON TIME!" She snorted angrily, and spat fire down at a lizard scuttling past. She skewered the toasted lizard on a talon and popped it into her jaws. "stuck up little snake!" She spat angrily, cursing griiln. "stupid king dragons, think they control us! cant they go hunting themselves? but nooo, they send me and that stuck up serpent out to catch a few live rabbits to re populate the valley." She folded her sodden wings and streached out on a large boulder to warm herself in the sun. A familiar high pitched voice spoke in her ear. "you like him, dontcha'?" Ariee opened one eye and saw filli hovering there. "what do you want, you pathetic little knat?" She hissed." Filli pretended to look hurt. "i just asked you. You like him, dont you." She growled, deep and menacing. " You wont leave me alone until i tell you, will you knat? Very well. I do a little, but he is still a stuck up, know it all, revoltingly obstinant little snake. Sort of like you!" She spat fire and it singed his tail. "now leave me be!" the little Fairi dragon whizzed off, giggling like mad. Ariee closed her eyes and tried to doze off again, but a large shadow blocked out her sun. She raised her head and saw Kwinn. She snarled, showing her fangs. "can i help you?" She said rather nastily. He raised an eyebrow, or rather, the ridge above his eye. "according to filli, you like me." A deep, growling sort of laughing sound echoed from his throat, which is the equivalint of a laugh for a dragon. She growled menacingly. "fairi dragons will spew any nonsense. Besides, who would like a stuck up, pathetic, irritating snake like you? now clear off, your blocking the sun." He laughed again. "well, thats a shame," She opened her eye again. "Listen you pathetic excuse for a dragon" She snarled, "i dont like you and you are a stuck up obstinant jerk!" The glare she shot at him was so icy he bac He turned and flew off. Airee closed her eyes, but then she heard filli giggling in her ear. a paw shot out, grabbing the irritating creature. "lemme go! lemme go you overgrown lizard!" She regarded the silvery creature coldly. "decided to go talk to Kwinn, dod you? Well you wont be going anywhere anytime soon." She scooped out a burrow in the ground, popped the irritating insect in, and put a boulder on top. "it will take you some time to dig your way out. Apologize and maybe ill let you out now!" She heard tiny claws scrabbling at the bottom of the boulder, and a muffled voice spoke. "im sorry, ok? now lemme out!" Ariee rolled her eyes, looking ammused. She lifted the boulder off and let the little dragon out. "now go off and play or something!" She laughed, and fell back asleep in the sun.

    Ariee woke up to see that it was now sunset. It was time to return to her cave. She took off from the ground and soared in the direction her treasure trove of trinkets she had inhereted from her parents from when there was still gold and jewels to be found. She leaned back, slowing down so as to land smoothly and silently. Creeping into the welcoming warmth that emmited from the back of the cave, she coiled up near the volcanic steam vent in the back. Sighing, she murmered, "ill escape tommorow. That stuck up snake Kwinn wont prevent me from seeing the world of creatures the brownies call humans. Maybee Cherrii will be back by tommorow...She usually is back they day after i wake..." And with that she drifted into sleep.

    "wake up Ariee!" A familiarly sweet voice called out softly. "youll be late!" Ariee opened her eyes and saw a furry gray face looking down at her. "hello Cherrii!" Ariee smiled at her brownie. Every dragon had a brownie who they had developed an affection for, dragons had a special liking for the oddly catlike mushroom munchers and kept their brownie with them almost all the time. Brownies usually woke up from hibernation after their dragons did."im getting up. Hop on, we're going to try to escape again. that idiot Kwinn wont hold us back this time!" Cherrii just rolled her eyes and jumped up behind Ariee's head, grasping her horns with her furry paws so she wouldnt be blown off when Ariee flew. The pair made their way to the edge of the cave and jumped off the edge, gliding towards the far northern edge of the valley, where Kwinn and Zirii, his calico brownie, waited. She landed in front of him, regarding him coldly, but welcoming Zirii with a nuzzle. the calico and her always got along, and she enjoyed hearing his witty comments about his partners personal hygine. Kwinn spoke oddly softly and with a note of concern in his voice today, rather than the usuall rude comment. "ariee, promise me you wont try running away this time?" She was slightly taken aback by his concern. Why did he care? She asked just that. "why should you care, you obstinany lizard?" She snarled. When she was startles she always took the aggressive aproach. He seemed slightly different today. "im just worried about you, humans are dangerous, according to Zirii. They have noisy tubes that fire bits of poison-metal into you to kill you, and they can do terrible things we dragons could never dream of. They can move oceans and turn valleys like ours into salty lakes!" She was touched by his concern, but decided not to show it. "Well, i dont care!" she spat. "catch me iff you can!" and she was in the air in a split second, racing away. He followed, straining his wings to catch up to her. Soon he possitioned himself above her to ram her into the ground so as to pin her and stop her from escaping. He dived, ramming her in the center of her back. With a sharp cry, Ariee fell to the ground. He did not need to do anything else but slow her descent, her wings were temporarily parylized. He dug his claws into her scales. He knew this minor injury would be nothing compared to what would happen if he didnt slow the fall. He strained his wings, working against the momentum she had gathered in the short plumment tword the ground. He hovered above the ground and pulled his talons out of her, And ariee fell to the ground. "ok, remind me why i even agree to come hunting?" She hissed when he shoved her into a cave. "because your the only one who can keep up. And please dont make me stab you again. Its really hard to clean my talons off after!" She obviously didnt hear him, because she was watching Cherri examine her wounds. "theyre pretty bad this time, Ariee!" Zirri's interest brightened noticably. He tossed his mushroom aside and scrambled over to take a look. "oooh," he winced slightly at the sight of the blood. "that'll take at least three days to heal. You blew it this time, Kwinn!" Kwinn scowled. "ok, this is just wack!" He hissed. "my own brownie is lecturing me on stopping someone from running away and getting hit by one of the humans metal bird things!" He turned away. "im going hunting. Zirii, are you coming?" Zirii shook his head. "sorry, pal but i think Cherrii will need some help fixing Ariee's wing up this time." Kwinn scowled again before flying away. "Ariee, Listen, you need to stop trying to escape!" Cherrii frowned, her furry face hadd concern etched into it. "i agree" Zirrii pipped up, "one of these times Kwinn might seriously hurt you!" Ariee smiled. "but not this time!" She lifted her wings. they were fine! "i was faking, and now Kwinn cant stop me. Hes out hunting, and he could be hours. By then ill have gotten too far away for him to track me!" Cherrii rolled her eyes and jumped on. "ya know ill come with you no matter what!" She shouted. Ariee spread her wings and aimed for the mountains...

    A fierce hissing surrounded her. It was the cousins of dragons, the Renzu. They had the head of a dragon, but had long, snakelike bodies, thick legs, and a mane of sharp scales surrounding their heads. They had wings like a birds, and were known to hunt in packs of three to four. Their favorite prey was dragons. Several Renzu surrounded her, their unnaturaly long talons clenched and unclenched, like they were trying to grab something she could not see. "hello coussssssin..."a soft, hissing voice came from their open maws. "sssssspeak, tell ussssssss, why do you leave the ssssssafety of your valley to come here, into our domain...?"
    "I am trying to escape. The dragons try to keep all of our kind in the valley, like birds trapped in a cavern by a stone. But i want to be free to go where i wish, like you." This seemed to amuse the Renzu. They closed their hissing mouths, and the edges of them tilted up into what was like a smile. "Very well put cousssssin. we sssssshall not kill you thissssss time. But beware nexssssssst time we meet, we may not be ssssssso grascioussssss..." The thing, hissing rasp of their voice faded away as they flew back down into the treetops. "well, Ariee! you very well almost got us killed again!"
    "Oh, calm down Cherri! they didnt kill us, now did they! No? Good! now be quiet and just hang on for the ride."